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Storywalk Trail now open at Chapman State Park

A Storywalk Trail is open for business at Chapman State Park.

The concept is pretty simple — frames containing pages from the stories will be located about every 80 steps along a half-mile trail on the north side of the lake along the Adams Run Trail.

The idea was born out of seeking educational opportunities that could be self-guided in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jen Moore, Chapman’s environmental education specialist said.

She explained that she set up a self-guided geocache last year but “wanted something more permanent.” The frames that hold the story are intended to be waterproof.

The focus of the stories will be watersheds and stewardship. Moore said the current story is entitled “All the way to the Ocean” and highlights how litter can move through waterways. Other titles in the near future will explore the maple sugar process as well as trout.

Times Observer photo by Josh Cotton The new Storywalk Trail at Chapman State Park was formally opened on Monday afternoon. The ribbon was cut by those involved in the project as well as individuals representing organizations that helped bring the project to completion. That includes, from left, Derrick Moore, Gary Kell, Ken Butler, Diana Campbell, Wes Ramsey, Michael Plish, Tim Kerr, Bill Massa and Jen Moore

The titles will rotate every couple months. A geocache will be located near the end of the story, as well.

Wes Ramsey, Penn Soil RC&D executive director, said a project such as this can take two to three years to complete.

This project was, in total, about $15,000. That included a goal of $11,000 raised in cash as well as in-kind services from the park.

The trailhead is adjacent to parking and a restroom with a picnic table halfway. It’s also handicapped accessible.

Ramsey thanked Moore for her dedication to the effort and also highlighted that the fundraising came together quickly, which included funds from the Allegheny Outdoor Club, Community Foundation of Warren County, Cornplanter Chapter of Trout Unlimited, the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, United Refining Company and the Warren County Visitors Bureau.

Ramsey said he also went to Facebook to solicit donations for the project and highlighted the many people that contributed.

“This is (the) idea coming to life,” he said.

Bill Massa with the Allegheny Outdoor Club said the club is happy to be a partner on a project that adds to a trail at the park.

Gary Kell said the ability to change the stories on the trail is what piqued Trout Unlimited’s interest and desire to get involved.

Moore said she’s hopeful similar frames can be installed on the Nature Trail on the other side of the park as well as for a paddling trail around the lake.

She said she was “shocked” by the number of people that contributed to make this project a reality.

Michael Plish took over as acting park manager back in September.

“Right off the bat I thought it was a great idea,” he said of the trail, calling it a “great addition to the park.”

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